Parents who are separating are often confused about the visitation schedule for their minor children. Today's blog post will address what is known as the "Standard Possession Order", which sets out the visitation routine for the parents. Today's blog post will explain the most important elements of the Standard Possession Order.
WHAT IS THE STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER?
The Standard Possession Order specifies the dates and times that the non-custodial parent has the legal right to possession of the children. The custodial parent then has the legal right to possession of the children at all other times. Notwithstanding the detailed provisions of the Standard Possession Order, however, the parents may mutually agree from time to time to change the periods of possession. This is critical to understand, because the schedules of the children and the parents usually do not fit perfectly with the dates and times set out in the Standard Possession Order. Parents that are flexible and cooperative with each other greatly benefit their children and make life much easier for themselves.
The Standard Possession Order provides for the non-custodial parent to have the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of each month with the children, and every Thursday evening during the school year. If elected, the noncustodial parent's weekends begin at the time school is dismissed on Friday, and ends at the time school resumes after the weekend. Additionally, the Thursday night visitation can begin at the time school is dismissed, and end at the time school resumes on Friday. Summer and holiday visitation includes 30 days during each summer (to be selected by the non-custodial parent), alternating Thanksgiving holidays and Spring Breaks, and alternating halves of every Christmas break. Additional specific provisions are included for Father's Day weekend, Mother's Day weekend and the children's birthdays. The location of the exchanges of the children are also specified in the Order. Typically, the Court order will limit the custodial parent's right to designate the residence of the children to a specific geographic area, so that the non-custodial parent's ability to exercise regular visitation is maximized.
Careful attention must be paid to the negotiation of a visitation schedule that maximizes the non-custodial parent's time with the children, consistent with work and school schedules. While the Standard Possession Order is presumed to be in the best interest of children, variances to it are often negotiated so that the visitation schedule actually works well for the children and parents. Christiansen Law Firm has significant experience in working with both custodial parents and non-custodial parents to accomplish workable visitation schedules. Christiansen Law Firm can review your situation and recommend creative and viable visitation solutions. For more information about how Christiansen Law Firm can guide you in your custody and visitation matter, please contact our offices in Houston or San Antonio.